Pitcaple (1859)



Pitcaple had many visits, and the meetings here were among the most successful that Mr. Radcliffe was privileged to address.

Rev. George Bain invited Mr. Radcliffe to hold services in his church at Pitcaple, while he went over to witness the Revival in Ireland. When he came home on the Saturday, he found that there had been a great awakening. On Sabbath, he preached in the forenoon in the church; and in the evening Mr. Radcliffe preached on the hillside, for the church would not have held a third part of those who came to hear him. After preaching a powerful and heart penetrating sermon from John vi., Mr. Radcliffe intimated that any anxious persons might go down to the church, where he would speak to them. Many of them went down; but a large congregation remained, who were addressed by Mr. Bain.

So many were deeply impressed that it took hours to deal with them, though Mr. Radcliffe was assisted by earnest workers, as well as the minister, who, five months after, was able to state that, as far as he knew, not one had gone back.

Mr. Bain had the Lord's supper in connection with this work, on the first day of the year, being Sabbath. There were fifty new communicants, besides a number of previous communicants, who had been converted. Mr. Bain said that they wrote to many places for godly people to people to pray for them—to Edinburgh, Inverness, and Caithness.

He might mention other cases, such as that of a poor man who had pleaded with his father and mother on the last night of the year, and he seemed with some measure of satisfaction to say, ' I got them to kneel, and kneel for the first time in their lives.'"

In August, 1860, about a year after the first services at Pitcaple, Mr. Bain again wrote: "After prayer, Rev. H. M. Williamson, of Huntly Free Church, delivered an excellent discourse from Heb. ii. 10. He was followed by Mr. Hector Macpherson, Mr. Duncan Matheson, and Mr. Radcliffe, in short addresses, characterised by pointed personal appeal, praise and prayer intervening between the addresses. Mr. Radcliffe, at the outset of his address, told of one whom he knew—an Englishman—who had a sister living two or three hundred miles distant in a foreign country. The sister had become converted; and her brother on hearing of this was displeased, thinking it very wrong of her, especially as her husband was absent at the time. With the approval of her relatives, he set out to visit her and reason with her on the matter. Arrived there, the sister said he might defer speaking to her till the morrow, asking him to take a little book she presented, and read it. He did so, and in that little book he lighted on the words, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.' The words no condemnation' struck him. He then knew very little of the Bible, even by rote, but the simple-minded man reasoned with himself: there is condemnation then to those who are not in Christ Jesus, and I at least am not. The result of reading these words was that he did not go to a ball, as he intended; he that very night found peace, and in the morning, without saying anything of the matter to his sister, he asked her where he could find a faithful minister, and of him he sought further instruction. That man was Captain Trotter, and such the result of his visit to his sister in Paris.

"At three the outside services were intermitted for an hour. Mr. Radcliffe had previously retired to the church—the other speakers named continuing the services—' anxious inquirers ' being invited to meet him there. A great many responded to the invitation. The services outside were resumed at four, refreshments having in the interval been supplied by direction of Mrs. Bain to persons from a distance. The afternoon services, which were conducted much in the same way, were continued till about eight o'clock , outside—the day being fine but cloudy until seven p.m., when the sun shone brightly—while Mr. Radcliffe, Mr. Rait, and others continued speaking to the anxious in the church to a considerably later hour, many of these exhibiting much emotion. The utmost seriousness characterised the general services; and at times, especially when the assembled worshippers unitedly knelt on the hillside in prayer, the scene was alike impressive and unusual."

Big men wept and said, "I have found Christ to-night." Two very old women in caps and shawls came to me; it was a solemn sight. They were deeply awakened and felt no time was to be lost. One said, "Oh, He winna cast me oot!" and then the other said, "No, He winna," and they repeated this many times. Then we prayed together;; and one remained on her knees praying half aloud to herself. Mr. Radcliffe looked in. To one old woman he said "Don't you believe?" and to the other, "Ah, you do not. You want to bring a good heart to Jesus instead of coming just as you are." They both left greatly softened and I trust found Jesus.

At Pitcaple, as at many of the places visited by Mr. Radcliffe, the special meetings were continued after he had passed on to some other sphere; and souls were continually being added to the Lord. Mr. Radcliffe told me when we first went to Pitcaple that the Lord gave him faith that He Himself would work there.

This is from 'Recollections of Reginald Radcliffe,' by his wife p83-5

George Bain went to Ireland to experience the revival there in July 1859. Radcliffe held the meetings while he was away.


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